Author Archives: Jacob
Author Archives: Jacob
When your baby cries, one of the first things you want to do is make it stop! While the reasons why a baby cries can get complex (since crying is communication and ensure survival), getting a crying baby calmed down can help everyone feel better.
Sources suggest imitating the womb to calm your baby down. The womb is a surprisingly noisy place – it’s dark, snug, and full of various sounds such as blood rushing through the circulatory system and food moving through the digestive organs. And when a mom-to-be walks around, turns over, or moves in any way, her baby feels it. So keep those things in mind as we discuss these 5 steps to soothing your crying baby.
1. Calm Yourself
This oft-forgotten step is crucial. Babies can pick up on your tension and anxiety, which can be quite high after you’ve listened to a crying baby for a while. Many experts are pointing to parental calmness as a key player in calming a baby. Take whatever steps you know work for you that give you a sense of calm and peace – meditation, prayer, deap breathing, even stretching (if baby is in a safe place) are all possibilities. Soothing music may help you and baby to feel calmer.
Many mothers swear by this one. The close feeling of the swaddling blanket helps your baby feel secure and “contained,” as in the uterus. Make sure you do it safely, though – lay out a thin, soft blanket, fold down a corner, and lay baby so the back of his head is on the folded down corner. This keeps the blanket from covering baby’s face. Then bring one corner of the blanket across baby’s body and tuck it underneath him. Loosely bring up the bottom of the blanket up to the bottom of baby’s neck, then bring the other side corner up and tuck it under your baby. Do not lay baby on his stomach, and make sure his feet can still move freely. Check with your pediatrician or midwife to make sure you’re doing it safely.
Instead of swaddling, putting baby in a sling (approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics or equivalent organization) and walking her around can help. This is another womb mimicking environment that many babies find so relaxing that they fall asleep.
This “shushing” or “sh” sound that mothers seem to make by instinct is right on track. It sounds like the sounds of the womb, and acts a bit like “white noise.” Experts say you can “shush” as loudly as you need to; you can also play a CD of womb sounds or run an appliance like a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner.
Whether you are breastfeeding or use pacifiers and bottles, satisfying the suckling instinct is very calming for babies. You can offer him the breast or something baby safe to suck on (such as a pacifier).
Pokemon Black DS is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Pokemon black console game. It serves as a precursor to the immensely famous Pokemon black and white video game. Once again, the Pokemon Company has developed a high-quality video game based on one of its most popular franchises. The new version retains a number of the features from its predecessors, including incredible image quality visuals and enhanced sound effects. This release maintains the legacy established by the original Pokemon black and white games of having a great narrative, thrilling dungeons and bosses, and awesome Pokemon companions.
Pokemon black | pokemon black nintendo ds | Pokemon black | Pokemon black rom | Pokemon black rom Pokemon black has a slew of great features. Unlike earlier versions of Pokemon black, this version contains all Pokemon black rom charges, Pokemon black a, and Pokemon black gemstone for pikachu, jasmine, and other black-colored Pokemon. Additionally, Pokemon black features the new Pokemon black universe, which acts as a secret world where players may find Pokemon from all prior editions of Pokemon black.
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These Pokemon’s new shiny appearance offers them a whole new look that they may wear with any clothing. This distinguishes them from the crowd. One of the greatest features of the new shiny nature is their capacity to learn skills similar to those seen in the original Pokemon black series. The new Pokemon black randomizer rom download enables players to capture every legendary Pokemon not included in the Pokemon black and white series.
The new shiny appearance of these Pokemon has increased their popularity to the point that individuals began downloading the Pokemon black rom for the Nintendo DS as soon as it became available internationally. Although the black edition of Pokemon black is currently available, there is a chance that the two versions of Pokemon black may ultimately be merged. This may result in an even more potent form of black if demand for it is sufficiently strong.
This is something that many people have speculated about. The new Pokemon black shiny allows us to observe what occurs when the two black variants are merged. According to others, the new shiny nature of these Pokemon indicates that we may see a hybrid of the two. The sparkling hues may indicate a new’version’ of the legendary Pokemon or perhaps a whole new kind of Pokemon. This is just one of the ideas circulating, but it is an intriguing one.
The advantage of downloading Pokemon DS roms is that they often include all of the required files and support for playing the games. Pokemon black ds rom is compatible with a wide variety of platforms, including the Nintendo DS, Xbox, and Wii. The ds roms allows you to get Pokemon black and other Pokemon games for free. You may simply download any of the free Pokemon black DS roms.
I recently attended a coaching call with one of the top leaders in the Network Marketing space. I wanted to share that information with you in order to help you build your business and position yourself as a leader in any niche. I am breaking this information up into a five post series as I believe that each step deserves it’s own post.
This information was from a guy that was in foreclosure in 2009, barely making $19K/year. He now has multiple 7 figure income streams and is paid a lot of money to coach and speak at various events all around the world.
You can position yourself as an authority before you have any major results. You will learn the five steps it takes to position yourself as an expert, even if you have no results. This can be accomplished part time, so all of you that are still working at a JOB, this information will work for you too.
The first step is the most important one of all. You must have a Vision. Now I know that a lot of people are rolling their eyes at this point, saying “not more of this psychological mumbo jumbo crap” . But having a Vision is the most important step. Goals are not good enough to keep you going on track. You must have a Vision of the person you want to become and visualize yourself in that role every day. Any coach or trainer that doesn’t talk about Vision is a waste of your time.
So how do you go about getting your Vision? Start asking yourself the following questions: What do you want to become? How do you want to be known? Stop focusing on the money and instead focus on the person that you want to become. All great coaches and successful entrepreneurs will tell you that once you stop focusing on the money, and focusing on who you want to become, the money will follow.
You must see yourself in better situation than you are currently in without justifying where you are. Most people project all of the bad things that might happen instead. That is why most people are stuck in their current situations and will never change. You must change your mindset and think like successful people.
Successful people have problems just like everyone else. The difference is how they handle and think about those situations. If they don’t have the money, they think how can they get the money. For every problem that comes up, they focus on overcoming that problem. This is completely opposite to how most people handle problems.
Also, you must eliminate the NSS in your vocabulary. NSS – Non Serving Statements. Maybe you are guilty of saying things like…..I don’t know what to do. Easy for him/her to say. It isn’t working! I don’t have the money. Just about every successful person has a back story that is worst than many non successful people. Oprah Winfrey had one of the worst upbringings ever – incest, rape, beatings, and more. Did that stop her from becoming a billionaire?
Don’t tackle yourself on the way to the goal line. Say things like I’m so greatful that the money is on the way. Play to win, not to see the loss. If you have been “where you are” for an extended period of time, you are holding on to something. Things like where you grew up, health conditions, bad childhood, lack of education – these are only excuses. You must let go and focus on who you want to become, not who you were or are.
Do you have a hatred of the wealthy? This is very common as most people are prone to jealousy and bitterness. Just remember that you cannot become that which you despise! You must change your thinking if you every want to become successful.
Maybe you’ve been trying to build a business for awhile and haven’t seen any success. What do you say when someone close to you asks you why you aren’t successful? Think about this for a second. Whatever you would honestly say is most likely holding you back. Here’s a tip – what is your definition of success? I can tell you that mine is growth and contribution. So if you are constantly growing by learning & applying new things and contributing to others by teaching or helping them, is that not success?
In closing, Goals are not enough to keep you going. Goals have to be coupled with the Vision of WHO you want to become in order to stay on the right path for success. And, if you are thinking of giving up, remember that quitting will NEVER speed things up 😉 .
Niche marketing is necessary if you want to establish your share in the market. You must select a niche and a strategy to find your target audience. This 5 Step System to Niche Marketing will help you towards long-term profits.
You must completely understand what niche you are going after. Having some background knowledge in your niche can help you narrow down a target market. Also, by identifying a certain niche, it can help to narrow down the scope of your website as you begin.
In order to start niche marketing, you must understand your target audience. This requires some research on the customers you plan on selling to. For example, if I am selling women’s jewelry, I should build my content and products specifically targeted at women. Depending on the style of jewelry, I could figure out the age-range of the women I will be marketing to. This can help you decide whether or not to take on certain advertisement ventures.
This is a very important step when it comes to niche marketing. Many first time marketers do as much as they can off the website like build backlinks, submit articles, and do social bookmarking. However, if the article or page they are linking to isn’t optimized for search engines, it might be hard to rank. On-Page SEO involves putting your keyword in your title tag, meta description, on title tags of pictures, and so forth. When you are building content, it is really important to focus on optimizing it and writing for your website visitors.
Submitting articles to directories can help your search engine visibility because SE’s will be able to index you faster. Also, there are some niche directories that can help you build an audience. This audience can them become interested in your website and potentially and returning member. Guest Blogging helps get your articles on some of the best websites on the internet. By offering your expertise, you will get several links back to your website helping you rank high.
The main 3 social media websites to join are Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If you are active on these three networks, it can help build a larger fan base. Just think about them as a free method of advertising your content. It costs nothing but time in order to be active on social media websites, and it is worth your time. Just make sure you take the time to connect with your fan base and don’t just post your content constantly.
These are the 5 Steps to Niche Marketing that I recommend you take. I am currently working on doing all of these things in order to add authority to my website. If you are missing one of these steps, you are potentially losing out on a share of the market.
The vast majority of local customers start with a web search. The lion’s share of that traffic goes to the web sites on the front page of Google. You would think that if your website is on Google’s first page, prospects should pour in. Lots of businesses throw time and money trying to get their website a first page. The problem is – once they get there, nothing happens. All too often, local business owners find that valuable ‘page 1’ traffic doesn’t always turn into a stream of customers. Traffic goes way up, but those new visitors just don’t turn into prospects and customers.
Is this where you are? Stuck on the first page, counting all the visitors not converting into customers?
Your web site’s only purpose is to bring you new prospect leads so you can convert them into paying customers. You made it look great, filled it with valuable information, you may have even loaded it with everything a prospect would know about your products and services. You may be proud of it, but the sad truth is: It’s not working. In short: If your web site doesn’t convert, then it’s not doing its job and you may be wasting a lot of good traffic.
If that’s the case, don’t despair. Non-converting sites share some common problems and most are easy to correct. If you analyse enough poor performing sites you will generally find the same errors over and over.Here are the top 5 reasons web site don’t convert. You may recognise a few that may be hurting your conversions. If so. They can be corrected.
A common misconception is that business owners think they only get one chance to sell their customers, so everything possible goes onto the page. It seems like a good idea – show as much as possible and cast the widest net. But what happens when people come to your site? What they are looking for is lost among all the clutter. Internet searchers are impatient, and if they don’t see what they want in 8 seconds or less, they hit the ‘back’ button. When that happens, you’ve lost them for good.
Scientific eye-tracking studies have shown that readers can’t, or won’t, read large blocks of text. Since they won’t read it anyway, reduce that text to bullets if you can. Your pages must be easy to scan for the important information people want – what you do, where you do it, a few bullet points about your service, and your phone number or other contact information. Well-designed graphics catch the eye and tell a story at a glance, so a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Each service or product you want to promote needs its own ‘landing’ page – a page devoted to one product or service. Each page should have one clear message – other messages should go on other pages. Your site will be cleaner this way, you focus attention on each specific offer, and you control what the user sees.
Making your pages more focused also helps people find your offers easier when they search for you. The search engines rank pages, not web sites. A focused message makes it easier for the search engines to understand the main point of each page and rank it accordingly.
Each focused (or ‘optimised’) page, concentrating on a single subject, will appear in search results when customers search for that particular product or service. This brings people looking for your solution to their problem directly to the page that solves their problem. Bring the right people to the right page and you will convert more of your visitors into buyers.
As we said above, if people can’t find what they want quickly, they move on. They won’t hunt for what they need on your page – put it out front for them, where they can find it. Decide what your page is supposed to say to your customer, and then say it. Make it easy to find your name, location and your hours of operation, the key points of your service or product and, most importantly, your phone number. The number on piece of information that local consumers look for is a phone number, so make sure it is prominent. Graphic elements stand out, so instead of your address in small type, why not embed a Google map on your page? It is immediately obvious what it is.
When a visitor arrives at your site, they have no idea what you want them to do. You have to tell them what it is you want from them. Each page has a desired outcome, and you need to let them know what you expect them to do. Too many people write in ‘passive voice’ instead of ‘active voice’. They start sentences with ‘If you are interested in…’ or other ‘soft’ language. They are afraid of scaring customers away direct speech and, as a result, leave a soft message.
If that is you – then Stop It! You have people on your site, and they have come for what you have to offer. Come on out and tell them what you have for them. Assume they are interested – otherwise, they wouldn’t be there!
Do you want them to call? Then put there in big bold type.
Do you want them to fill in a form to get a free report? Tell them what they will get in return, and put an arrow pointing out the form. Label the button ‘Click Here’, and they will.
And the most important piece of information is your phone number – spell it out in big, bold letters “CALL 123456 TODAY”
One of the best ways to accomplish these calls to action is with Landing Pages. They won’t disrupt your current site and front page placement but will allow you to direct visitors to very specific offers and actions.
Once you get people to your site, you want to keep them there, on your ‘money page’, until they pick up the phone, fill out a form, or click the ‘Buy’ button. Offer as few distractions at this point as possible – focus on converting this visitor into your next customer.
Navigation links, YouTube videos and related blog posts are all great ways to get people to your site. That is their purpose – to bring people to your sales page.
But once they are on your site, the rules change. Now the goal is to keep them there until they become a prospect or customer.
Anything on these pages that doesn’t support the sale you have in progress has got to go! Links to other pages, other offers, videos or anything that can send them away WILL send them away.
Video on web sites is a proven sales tool, and YouTube has made it easy for anyone to make and post videos on-line. Embedding a video on your web site is easy to, and it helps make your pages easier to find (Google owns YouTube and favors YouTube videos). And what better way to tell people about your business than a video?
The problem with the way most businesses are embedding YouTube videos is that is that visitors can easily be taken to YouTube where they are presented with ‘related’ videos – and some of these could be your competitors!
Your customers don’t want to deal with faceless, anonymous web sites. They want to deal with real people like you, not a website. You need to ‘get real’. Make sure you have contact information, including your address, phone number, even social profiles and links to free report landing pages on your main site. Social profiles – such as your business on FaceBook or LinkedIn let prospects know you are a real business. Knowing who they are dealing with helps establish their sense of trust in both you and your business. One of the easiest ways to communicate with your prospects is through offering a free report. When they sign up for that report they can be put into your email marketing campaign. This should not be used to constantly email them sales offers, but to enable you to communicate and provide them valuable information and educate them about your products and services.
Most business make the mistake of burying their valuable information deep within their website in the form of an article or page content. When you position your information as report with a strong cover representation your prospect will perceive this information as important and valuable. This will also build credibility and trust for your business by positioning you as the “Educator / Advocate” by providing this valuable gift.
The best way to offer your information in the form of a complimentary report is through a landing page that is focused squarely on the report content and a strong “Call To Action” for the visitor to enter their email address in return for instant access of the information. At this point you have now turned a visitor into a prospect in which you can follow up.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your opportunities to better turn visitors into customers, feel free to contact us on 01732 462451
There are two kinds of climbers that frequent their local crag – the ones who think their crag is climbing’s best kept secret, and the ones who think the climbing at their crag is complete low-ball choss. Chances are, it’s all low-ball choss and your crag sucks – go climb at Red Rocks, or the Gunks, or Whitehorse, or in the Valley.
No matter what you think of your local crag and no matter what quality the rock actually is, maintaining and being a steward of that small piece of climbing land has huge impacts on the climbing community at large. Here’s why:
It helps develop local feel that is absent at large/famous crags.
I grew up learning to climb at the Gunks, so those ethics are instilled in me. But what about the personality, the feel of a crag? For those big famous ones, the questions we ask ourselves are not, “I wonder if any new routes were put up” or “Has anyone else tried my project?” but “Will I find parking?” or “I wonder what the line is going to be on that moderate, ultra-mega-historical-classic.” And thus the personality becomes overridden by the quantity of people, not the quality. When you change the subject of the question, it sounds like you’re going to a mall or an amusement park, not participating in the sport and adventure of rock climbing.
Local crags have a distinct personality that you’ll learn to cherish. You may not be able to climb 200 feet in the air, or get a beautiful view of a valley or range – but you’ll be out there, with a couple of friends, having a good time, not worrying about other parties/dogs/kids/food fights/music etc. You’ll get to know the rock better. You’ll know the paths and trails blindfolded. It will create a sense of ownership.
You may not personally know the landowner of your local crag – but by climbing on his/her/their land, you are in relationship with them. Leave trash and dirty the place – you’ll be told by someone to leave and not come back. Make as if your presence was never there – you won’t hear a peep, and if anything you’ll get a thank you from others for being such a good ambassador for the area. The point is, climbing relationships aren’t often spoken relationships. Many times you communicate through the impact and trace you leave on a certain area.
In many local crags, there are rocks and boulders and routes crossing all sorts of property lines. For instance, at our local area (the Powerlinez), we are allowed to climb on PIPC property, but not the town of Ramapo’s property. This creates a lot of invisible fences, leaving otherwise stellar climbs off limits. Yet as we develop one area with respectful climbers, practicing Leave No Trace principles and respecting the property we’re climbing on; that just sets climbing up with more of a stance to convince adjacent land owners to let people climb there.
For those of you who have read “Yankee Rock & Ice: A History of Climbing in the Northeastern United States”, you know how far crags like the Gunks or Whitehorse Ledge have come. Even now, take a look at sections of the Trapps cliff that don’t have routes, or seldom climbed routes. I remember climbing Ruby Saturday Direct and having to fight through some lichen at a certain point. Unheard of on many of the classics.
Well, before your friend rips you apart for your crag being overridden with plants, lichen, loose blocks and more; quiet yourself and think about the legends of history that first developed the famous crags. They went through the same thing, and fought the same feelings you’re probably feeling (like “Is it worth it?”). They never imagined their crags would become popular, and they had to clean many a hold to find the crux sequence. Even climbing at places like Millbrook have lichen on classic routes. In the end, development creates a sense of stewardship and ownership over a little slice that plays into the global climbing community.
Sometimes, even if the crag is empty that day, you’re still climbing routes that have been climbed so much, the rock has wear marks. For those of you who have climbed in the Frog’s Head area at the Trapps recently, jump on City Lights. It’s always been known as a polished first couple moves, but in the last couple years, that first move to the good pocket, seems more sketchy than usual! Beta spray: there’s a less polished way to escape to the left and then back right, still hitting the pocket and avoiding the sketch. Or take Laurel for instance – so polished!
There are days you just don’t want to deal with that. You don’t want a well worn path, you want to worry about how hard the moves are, not will you slip off that overly-chalked hold. There are more times (coughMadameGscough) where it feels like you’re climbing in a gym. Just follow the chalk and you’re done! Sort of takes away any sense of adventure, doesn’t it?
At your local crag, you get to show people a more intimate view of climbing, your life and what you care about. Your projects are more meaningful because they are yours!
Who knows what your crag is going to be like in 20 or 30 years. Frankly, who cares! You’re out there now and enjoying it, making the most of it – keep climbing.
I want to finish off with a quote from a local climber, who I asked his opinion. He sent me this quick e-mail. He also happens to be a riot.
> “I grew up a short bike ride from my local crag. It was illegal to climb there. However, my friends and I didn’t figure that out usssntil after the internet age besieged us. It was no flowerbed of cragging but did provide us with a unique opportunity to grow up climbing and develop in earnest as future rock stars. We came away from those years with a sense of ownership that I believe many current climbers lack. Even decades later, if we were to return, it would be like visiting an old girlfriend. One that you bumped around in the dark with and learned how to love. Trial and error style.
> The benefits of a local crag are that the climber takes with him, that mindset to every other crag he visits and pays it forward. If you grew up “doing it” a certain way…then when you travel, you will inquire and respect how it’s done there. If you feel ownership of your local place and regularly carry out litter, you will be less inclined to leave it behind when your the visitor. If you appreciated solitude once, you’ll do your best to keep your voice down and not be an annoying neighbor.
> Just this one guys opinion. I’m sure I could explain it a bit better. But like they say in Kazahkstan…my drip you catch? yes?
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The toys have taken over my house. At any given time, the floor of my living room is simply littered with brightly colored gadgets, blocks, balls, books, and probably a baby sock or stray cheerio. It’s a fact that I have just come to accept. A house with a toddler is going to be a messy house.
One of my daughter’s favorite activities is pulling the toys out of all the bins, boxes, and cubbyholes. She likes to move them around and hide them in the couch cushions or in her shirt. She likes taking things out and then putting them back in different containers. If she gets bored while playing, all I have to do is clean up her toys, and she will suddenly become interested in them again! It’s works like magic every time!
THESE ARE CURRENTLY HER 5 FAVORITE TOYS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER):
1. Shape Sorting Drum (Melissa & Doug) – This is Melissa & Doug’s take on a classic shape sorter. It’s round so A can roll it as she attempts to put the shape blocks in the corresponding holes on the drum. She hasn’t quite figured out how to do this yet, however. Mostly, she just enjoys taking the blocks out of the larger opening on the bottom, hiding the them under pillows, and then putting them back in the drum. Over and over again! The other night, I found 5 or 6 of the shape blocks at the bottom of the footies pajamas A was wearing! I love that the shape sorter is wooden. It’s so durable. I’m sure this is a toy that will last. As A grows and learns, she will be able to actually sort the shapes, create patterns, learn about color names and shape names, and so much more.
2. Classic Xylophone (Fisher-Price) – This is a recent addition to our toy collection. A just loves it! She loves songs, dancing, and watching music videos on YouTube. So, a xylophone was an easy choice for A. She sits with it in her lap, hits the keys with the plastic yellow stick, with the biggest smile on her face. She even dances to her own music. It’s so fun to watch. I’m sure this is a toy that she will love for years to come!
3. Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Sis (Fisher-Price)– This was a holiday present for A back in December. At the time, she was just 6 months old and I knew it would be a little advanced for her but thought she would grow into it. And she did! In the beginning, she would love for us to play the songs that “Sis” sings. Now that she’s older, she can use the toy herself more. She presses her hands, feet, and tummy to hear fun songs and rhymes. She gives “Sis” hugs and kisses too. That lucky toy gets more hugs and kisses from A than I do!
4. Foam Floor Alphabet and Number Puzzle Mat – Originally, I bought this mat to simply use as a floor covering in A’s play area. We have hard floors on our main living level of our townhouse and a foam mat was much less expensive than buying an area rug! But, it wasn’t long before A realized she could take the puzzle apart. Now anytime I try to put it back together (in order, of course)A is quick to tear it apart again. I have completely given up on putting it back together. Little A can take it apart as much as her heart desires. When she is older, this will be a great tool to practice letter and number recognition as well as fine motor skills. For now, it lives in a messy pile in the corner of our living room until A decides to play with it next.
5. Having A Ball Spin ‘N Slide Ball Popper (Bright Starts) – A got this fun toy as a birthday present from her grandparents. It’s not very educational but it is a blast to play with (when it works properly)! The balls spin around at the bottom of the toy while music is playing and are led into a tube where they get popped up, often to go flying across the room, and sometimes they make it down the slide. A loves it! She also loves filling the tube with the shape blocks from her shape sorting drum…which leads to a jam in the popping mechanism. Then we have to take the toy apart, get the blocks out, in order to get the balls to pop again. It’s a little bit frustrating for the grownups…but it makes A happy.
A’s favorites will probably change tomorrow! But these are the 5 toys she goes to the most right now. What are some of your favorite toddler toys?
*Disclaimer: I was not paid to review or publish my opinions on any of these products. They are simply my daughter’s favorite toys, at the moment, and I wanted to share them with you.
My back doesn’t like it when I have anxiety attacks and cancel plans with friends. When I prostrate myself against the floor and weep, it stabs my nerves until I cry out like a ghost feeling its mortal body rotting. If I talk to someone, the ache goes away. If I make a phone call and don’t stutter, the stiffness leaves. I don’t want to communicate most of the time, but the demon in my back hurts me if I stay silent and hide.
Before the demon collided with my spine, we used to get along. We would watch TV together and dust crumbs off each other’s chest. “I enjoy you.” he used to say. “Don’t ever make me angry.” I had three friends which I spoke to four days a week when I was a teenager. They made me happy. Just being around them I felt like I had a purpose, like the anxiety I suffered was unimportant and silly. They made me feel like my disorders were imaginary.
One night after spending time with them, I came home and had a breakdown. I stammered through the house, semi-conscious, my hands knocking things down as I felt the devastation of panic and shame. I had made a stupid joke and no one laughed. I had also spilled my water across the dinner table. The embarrassment was so overwhelming I wanted to cry, pinch my arms or jerk out my hair. I spent hours reimagining how I could have done things differently. I imagined I didn’t have anything to drink. I imagined I stayed quiet and didn’t bore anyone with my dull humor.
After that night, every time I went out, I did not have a beverage, did not talk. If someone laughed, I thought they were laughing at me and my timid behavior. I walked around with murderous eyes and shaking hands.
I asked the demon what I should do next. I confessed I was unbearably lonely and wanted human contact, but at the same time I was terrified of company. “Quit pitting yourself and speak up.” he said. “You’ll never be satisfied if you are all alone.” “Tell me what to do.” I said. “Help me!” I was so tormented and exhausted that when I saw him running towards me, I did not realize he was coming to attack me. With his sharp nails, he tore the skin on my back, placed his feet inside my muscles and let the rest of himself sink inside of me.
This caused such pain that my ears started ringing and I saw black. I thought I was going to vomit up my organs. I tried to pull him out, but he only sank deeper. I heard him screaming from beneath my skin. “Get a social life. Get close enough to someone you could kiss. Tell them what your heart thinks of theirs. Make yourself complete. Love someone.”
The next day, I called one of my friends. “Please come over.” I said. “I think I’m dying.” There was a pounding sound at the door an hour later. I answered it, nearly falling against my friend, whose name was Adoncia. “Is there mercy here?” I touched her heart. “Do I make you feel loved?” She helped me to my couch, where I let myself stretch, and where she sat on my lap. “The truth is I miss you.” she said. “I’ve always had a crush on you.” I writhed when she tried to put her mouth against mine, but the demon, sending his insufferable pain, persuaded me to let her give me a kiss. “I am not adored.” I kept whispering until I became drowsy. “This bothers me so much. I don’t want contact, but I grieve without it.” She rubbed her fingers down my face, sighing like for a moment, she sensed my depression. “Keep her. You’re silly to suffer when someone is fascinated with you.” I heard the demon’s voice inside my head.
Adoncia stayed with me that night. She stroked my hair until my scalp was numb. “I have a confession.” I said at two in the morning. “Mmmhmm. Say it.” she moaned. “I am possessed. It is for my own good though. I am weak, so a satanic creature entered me to offer power. It’s like a punishment that has a radiant outcome. I can see what is wrong with me through the abuse.”
I smiled when I saw she had fallen asleep against my collar bone. Maybe she didn’t need to hear the truth. Maybe she was possessed too. I carried her into my bedroom, where she rested as I rubbed my back and laughed until morning.
Ashlie Allen is a fiction writer and poet. She is also a photographer. Her favorite writer is Anne rice. She loves the Autumn season.